When traveling, the safety of a country is crucial. You want to know what to expect and how bad experiences can be prevented from happening. In case you’re planning to visit Belgium, then this article will most likely answer all the questions regarding how safe is the country and how to minimize risks in this European country.
Talking about the safety of a country is no easy task, because this concept can refer to many things: global peace index, crime rates, acts of terrorism, and in the light of new events, COVID-19 regulations and number of cases.
General travel advice
Before going to Belgium, make sure to have good travel and health insurance, in case you need any kind of assistance during your stay.
Every citizen or tourist is obliged to carry around any form of identification documents. If police ask for it and you don’t have it, you can be fined or even arrested.
If you personally need help from the police or you witness any kind of crime, call the official EU emergency number 112.
Global Peace Index
According to Vision of Humanity website, Belgium holds the 17 spot in the top of the safest countries in the world. The index takes into account not one, but 23 different variables to calculate the ranks. This means that Belgium is safer than over 91% of all the other countries.
As a general overview, the crime rate in Belgium is fairly low. Of course, if you find yourself in a touristy spot, especially in a city, you are prone to pick pocketing, but (sadly) that’s a common thing in almost all Europe.
What to do: Be wary of your surroundings and the people around you, especially if you are in one of the following cities: Brussels, Antwerp, Ghent, Bruges. Don’t keep valuable belongings in plain sight or unattended, wear clothes with hidden pockets and use anti-theft bags and backpacks. To keep money safe, carry around a credit card instead of cash, if possible.
In 2016, three coordinated bomb attacks took place in Brussels. In 2017, there was another attempt at Brussels central train station, but luckily it failed. On a scale from 1 to 4, Belgium is a 2 regarding the National Terrorism Threat. Brussels is definitely a hot spot, especially since the European Union and NATO have their headquarters here. Terrorist groups are still making threats for further attacks in Belgium, as well as in other European countries.
What to do: Stay alert, especially in busy areas like airports, metro and train stations, tourist areas, near or in high importance buildings. Immediately call the police if you see something suspicious, like a package left unattended.
COVID-19 virus is still a health risk in Belgium. At the moment, all non-essential travel to Belgium is forbidden, unless you come from another country in the EU zone. Things are subjected to change, so if you want to be up to date with the latest news and restrictions, check the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.
What to do: If you are still planning to visit Belgium, you fill out a form in the 48 hours before your arrival.
In conclusion, there aren’t major security red flags for traveling to Belgium in normal conditions. It is advised to take some common sense precaution measures, but other than that, it is very likely to have a safe visit.
Did you ever go to Belgium and if yes, what was your general impression regarding how safe it is to travel there? Share your experience with fellow travelers and help them plan their next visit!